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4 Reasons Leaders Are Readers

by Jeremy Kingsley, OneLife Leadership | Mar 06, 2017
“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” — Mark Twain, American author and humorist

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Readers are leaders.” If you’ve taken the time to research the habits of well-known leaders, you’ll see that most list one habit in common: reading. Leaders make time for it in their busy schedules. Why do leaders feel this is so important?

1. Reading Serves as a Reminder of Important Concepts

Many leaders reread the same article or book multiple times. It’s not because they didn’t understand the concepts the first time. It’s because the concepts are so important to the leader that they want to be reminded of why they are important. Leaders are readers because they want to keep the best business concepts in the forefront of their thoughts.

2. Reading Presents New and Thoughtful Ideas

Like anyone else, leaders must be exposed to new and thoughtful ideas. The key is to choose books that are insightful. Don’t be afraid to read something outside the norm. For example, a physician who runs a small medical clinic may generally only read medical journals. But picking up a a book on business management could provide the physician great insight into how the practice could be managed more efficiently.

You may not feel as if you’re in tune with a particular book—that happens sometimes. But in the future, that book may inspire your own new ideas.

3. Reading Gives Leaders an Advantage

Steve Siebold, author of How Rich People Think, spent years interviewing 1,200 of the wealthiest people about their habits. One commonality? They were regular readers. And they didn’t just read for fun. Rather, they read for knowledge. Mark Cuban reads for almost three hours a day. Why? Because he understands that reading provides knowledge accessible to anyone.

Yet, not everyone will take the time to read. Cuban understands that this creates a distinct advantage for him. He’s not alone. In fact, Warren Buffett is known for his reading habit as well. He’s one of the richest men in the world. Buffett is known for reading between 600 to 1,000 pages each day. Buffett estimates that he spends around 80% of his time reading.

4. Reading Encourages Better Decision Making

Reading gives us access to experiences that are not our own. It exposes us to how other people approach problems in business and in life. This gives leaders more options to make better decisions. Through reading, leaders are exposed to different perspectives that may encourage them to take a new or different approach to conflicts. It also promotes tolerance of other viewpoints.

Reading is one of the best possible ways to become a better leader. Take some time to find some great books—biographies, bestsellers, and stories from people you respect. You won’t regret it.

About the Author

Jeremy Kingsley is a professional speaker, leadership expert and bestselling author. Learn more at